Lilies and viruses

A couple of years ago I noticed an unusual thing on the flowers of one our 'Stargazer' lilies: a mottled, or 'breaking' appearance. It has since become clear to me that this is actually something caused by a virus, a virus referred to as TBV, or Tulip Breaking Virus. Vectors of transmission are predominantly aphids, but also some insects, particularly those that will chew on one plant and end up carrying the virus onto the next plant it chews on.

It can also be transmitted by using shears or clippers to go from plant to plant to cut off stems for cut flowers for instance and transferring the virus from the open wound to the next wound you make if you do not take care to disinfect between cuts (not many people do).

I also wonder if the virus may be spread by rodents as well; reason I postulate that is we have had more than one rodent (rat) in our garden beds/planters, going through them and pick out and chew a nice juicy Lily bulb to smithereens. The virus lives in the plant's sap and because aphids suck sap it's easy to see how they spread the virus. But a rodent isn't bloody likely to wipe his teeth after chewing into an infected bulb before moving on to the next, is it? Am I drawing a long bow? The picture here is of a stand of 'Dame Blanche' and if you click on the image a large, cropped version will open up in a new window that will give a better view of the mottled appearance of most of the leaves on this stand. See if you agree that we have a potential issue here with Mosaic Virus or TBV, or am I just paranoid and we have nothing more than a nutrition concern. Kindly by e-mail, or leave a message in our guestbook with your opinion and observation, it will be greatly appreciated.

While I may have doubts about the status of the 'Dame Blanche' above, I have none about the virus status of this 'Kissproof' and it will go before it can serve as a continued viral source, in this case probably Mosaic Virus.

This 'Lorina' trumpet also looks suspicious to me. Again, as with the first image, click on the picture and a much larger version will open in a new window for a much closer look. One of the problems with both 'Dame Blanche' and 'Lorina' is that they are both white flowers and that makes it very hard to determine from looking at the flowers if we have a virused flower in front of us. I mean, how do you tell mottling on a white flower?

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